Even we at the Gnome, need a helping hand sometimes

Welcome to Just Ask Matt! – The IT industry’s answer to the help column, only slightly more medicated. Today’s Just Ask Matt is dug out from Chris Pirillo’s Weblog. While it is addressed to the Web community at large, I thought it might be worthwhile to share my thoughts in addition to sharing any responses that I get from you folks as well. Chris writes:

As usual, I left the computer running last night when I went to bed. When I turned the monitor on this morning, I was greeted with a Blue Screen of Death:

0x0000008E 0xC0000046 0x804FF1C6 0xB7B2A6FC 0x00000000

Uh huh. If I were to say that aloud, my mom would wash my mouth out with soap – so I checked the System Event Viewer. Lo and behold, there were quite a few errors in there. Tons of 4226 “TCP/IP has reached the security limit imposed on the number of concurrent TCP connect attempts” warnings. What can I say? I love the Internet. BSOD was my chief concern, however. Nothing was showing up around the time it crashed, really. Then I saw something that made my heart jump into my throat: the dreaded “disk” Error message. It’s apparently been happening for a few months now. Not frequently enough to be a primary hard drive, however (or so I think).

The driver detected a controller error on DeviceHarddisk1D.

Could somebody please tell me why it’s not telling me – in plain and simple terms – which drive it is?! I don’t think it’s actually (as the error would have me believe) drive D. By sorting the “Source” column, and lining up the Disk Errors, I can see that starting on 12/18/2004, it’s DeviceHarddisk1D. The last date the error appeared was on 10/15/2004, where it was DeviceHarddisk2D – and occurred countless times between 11:45:44 AM and 11:46:57 AM (and again, between 1:07:26 PM and 1:08:59 PM). So, we have either Harddisk1 and/or Harddisk2 – their numbers switching only between the times I would have switched USB ports on my POS external Western Digital drive.

Besides, I found two DeviceIdeIdePort0 Errors (Event ID 5) a day apart, recorded about a week ago – indicating that there were a couple of “parity” issues with one of my internal drives, likely the primary. I’d better keep an eye on that sucker. I’m not sure if my external drive is unhealthy, or it’s just apiece of junk – as the WD Media Center has proven to be time and time again.

To be honest, I don’t think the controller is at fault and the likelihood of the cables being bad is not too likely. So this leaves us with the drives themselves. Still, where it starts to get sort of weird is the fact that it is reporting problems with multiple drives. Since it is highly unlikely to have issues with multiple drives, then could it in fact be the controller?

Even though, things are almost pointing at something else other than the drives themselves, it might still be worthwhile to run a chkdsk on all internal drives along with using the diagnostic utilities that most hard drive manufacturers provide from their Web site. Since I do not believe that Chris has immediate access to a PCI Adapter Card IDE Controller that he can simply plug in and then leave the PC running all night to see if it is in fact, a controller issue. I would like to probe you, the readers for some suggestions that he might try instead.

Do you have an IT-related question? Perhaps you are just burnt out on writing on the walls with crayons? Whatever the
comments may be, drop me a line, and you too can “Just Ask Matt!”

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